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View Diary: As Others See Us (244 comments)

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  •  We should study how they promote this (none)
    And the values they profess and organize around.
    •  Agreed... (none)
      but their is one hitch. Europeans are more secular than the radical religious American form of governemnt we now have thrust upon us. Radical evangelicals and their worship of money could make this all but impossible to foment in the states. It could certainly be done on a personal level or maybe even a local level, but any chance of seeing the American Dream supplanted by a more European model may only be a dream at best.

      Horacio Alger is dead folks, let the dream begin!

      •  Religion in Europe (none)
        has, for a very long time, been a state sanctioned monopoly. The result has been secular societies as opposed to secular governments. Required to give fealty to a single church, Europeans have quit going to church. Now that we have a functioning theocracy the only question is how long before Anericans do the same. Katha Pollit, in the Nation, wrote an essay called "Prayer in schools? by all means" in which she says "...it took compulsary chapel to make me an atheist."

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 05:50:11 AM PST

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        •  Bingo (none)
          The fundies, ironically enough, have no idea how much they owe to church-state separation. In retrospect, for the nonreligious among us, an established church would have been a lot better: by this time, the Church of America would have been a fossilized dinosaur of no relevance to modern life, and essentially a government program drained of all energy.
        •  I don't agree (none)
          how do you come to the idea that we have to be fealty to a single church?

          We have the freedom to be member of any church.

          And there are a many different churches. Just because we have two major churches, the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran Protestant in Germany, for which you pay a church tax, if you are a member, doesn't mean you are forced to pay those tax or forced to become a member.  

          So, we clearly have secular governments and no theocracy at all.

          For free speech, against free lies.

          by mimi on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 09:19:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  in addition to that (none)
            the reason why Europeans (or at least Germans) don't go to church has other roots, IMO.

            The post WWII generation just got cynical about phony Christian values promoted in the churches, when the Churches have been "aiding and appeasing" Hitler's policies all over the place.

            There were a few, like Niemoeller, if you attended his Sunday services, the SS stood in the back rows to scare the congregation.

            Any hypocritical preacher or phony moralist gets scrutinized before anyone would go to church among the Protestants in the sixties to eighties in Germany.

            For free speech, against free lies.

            by mimi on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 09:38:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I always think (none)
            of The Church of England, in which the Queen is also the "Defender of the faith." But I recall reading that the German government would not let the Scientologists open up there as a religion. That decision, in the US, would be unconstitutional. There is a formal relationship between the Church and the State in most western European countries that, until now, has been forbidden to American governments. The first ammendment starts with "The congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." A fairly large number of people who voted for Bush this time think that is wrong and wish for a christian nation.

            "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

            by johnmorris on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 10:53:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, (none)
              first I like to say I am glad the Germans didn't let the Scientologists open up as a religion.

              I like my constitution, if it protects me from abuse of freedom of religion or abuse of freedom of speech in the same way as I want it protect the freedoms of both. Scientologists are abusive and in no way a religion. I am also glad if my government tries to watch over the subversive propaganda from any kind of abusive religious-packaged cults, as long as they don't violate the rights to freedom of speech, which is not massively and clearly abusive. I think I like nuances in the way you define freedoms in your laws.

              With the new technologies of mass communication and mass broadcasting directly and personally on to each person's home, there is a need to protect from abuse of freedom of speech and religion as much as there is the need to protect those freedoms.

              And when it comes to formal relationships between government and church in Europe, there are formal relationsships, which don't say anything about their political or legal power of one entitity over the other. Apparently in the countries, which have such formal relationsships, the churches have no power at all over the government's legislative decisions.

              Whereas in the US the churches have no formal relationship to the government, they definitely have tremendous influence on state and federal legislations in the state and federal governments.

              So, what do you prefer? It is much easier in the US system for a religion to take over the government and have influence over legislation than in Europe, because in Europe you vote for a party platform more heavily than for an individual candidate's political viewpoints.

              If a European party suggests their candidates to run for office, that candidate is bound and accountable to stick to the official party's policy platform, which was built from the bottom up.

              The party's policy platform is represented proportionally to votes of the population. No winner take all arrangement are in place to surpress subtle changes in the populations vote for specific policy platforms like in the US. Winner take all arrangements favors building a majority vote for an individual candidate and surpesses the representation of a party's political platform.

              If a candidate in Germany should turn out as a religious extremist and zealot in sheep's fur, whose hidden agenda would be to change legislations according to his religious beliefs, he would have no chance, if that is not the official party policy. He would get a vote of distrust and thrown out or pushed aside.

              In the US, and even here you can even observe it right now on dailykos, the redifinition of what it means to be a Democrat, the labeling, branding, changing policy platforms to attract whatever kind of ideological or ethnic minority, is done up from the top to the bottom and not vice versa.

              In the US you vote in to office individuals, in Europe you vote in to office a policy platform of a specific party plus individuals, which makes the country more vulnerable to individual extremists taking over a country.

              So, to make it even more clear, if in Germany you have 12 percent of a population voting for the policy platform of the Neo Nazis, that is what it is, 12 percent voting for their policies.

              In the US you would have the 12 percent voting for same policies as well, just that you don't know in which party sits the individual representative or candidate, who would push those policies through Congress. US has fuzzy policy platform representation and loves obfuscation through a jungle of zillions of state and federal laws, that rule through their loopholes and the population doesn't know what it gets.

              How long does it take for a US citizen to know that Congressman X from this or that state is an extremist fundamentalist or has neo-nazi or neo-conservative agenda? Very long. Because the agenda of those individuals are not represented openly in the all-inclusive two major parties.

              Basically you don't have clear policy platform, you just produce individuals, who run for office, whom you trust more than the other. I consider that pretty dangerous. An individual is easier corruptable than a whole party platform.

              Sorry, I have to go.

              For free speech, against free lies.

              by mimi on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:39:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Excellent post...lots to think about (none)
                "US has fuzzy policy platform representation and loves obfuscation"

                Let me start by saying that you're quite astute and observant about our political process, but not completely accurate about the platforms of the 2 parties @ work here. There IS a skeleton platform which both parties have and that are well known to the public, but the Republican party now has a major idealogical split...you have traditional conservatives and neoconservatives. The Bush Administration is a mixture of both (Bush trad, Cheney neocon) w/ their appointees, judges, etc...

                What you're witnessing now is more of a shift in the Republican party than anything particular w/ the Democratic party. The Democrats, I'd argue, have actually gone more right of their tradiditonal stances than have split. You are absolutely correct when you say that people don't necessarily understand this....but it's the trad Republicans (en masse) who don't get it....not the Democrats  or many of the intelligent conservative pundits. Neocons have co-opted conservative language, but have a quite unique agenda. THIS is where the masses have been taken for a ride.....

                "How long does it take for a US citizen to know that Congressman X from this or that state is an extremist fundamentalist or has neo-nazi or neo-conservative agenda? Very long. Because the agenda of those individuals are not represented openly in the all-inclusive two major parties."

                Actually, it's not too hard to find out where a given candidate stands, especially if they already have held elective office. All one has to do it look up their voting records.  

                What happened in 2000 w/ the Bush administration is that we knew fully well that Bush was pro life, pro death penalty, pro gun, and pro evangelical Christianity....IOW, a Reagan wannabe, but what we didn't/couldn't know was Dick Cheney. It's obvious who's ideology is dominant in the WH....and it ain't Bush's or Reagan's.

                You're actually witnessing something that's  unprecedented (in my lifetime, at least)....it's the VP and the Cabinet who's in the driver's seat....the President is doing the talking, but the actions are being done behind the scenes by unelected officials. A good example is this Iraq war....I seriously doubt Reagan would have done this (Lebanon 1983 was his chance) or if he did, have done it like this.....George the 1st certainly didn't do it like this. These guys were classic trad conservatives, but now you have W talking the same Reagan talk, but not the walk. What's different? IMHO, it's Cheney and his neocon crew!

                In the process of picking a President, people get (if they pay attention) a real chance to see what this person is about, but the VP is the X factor. They Y factor are the appointees a President picks upon election. Usually Presidents choose VPs who are firmly kept in the background and appointees who share his same platform, that's NOT the case here. Cheney, AFAIK, has NEVER held an elected office tho he's been an appointee in serveral Republican administrations, so his views and the power he'd end up taking from the elected President came as a real surprise! (Obviously Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush 1....kept him and Rumsfeld on a tight leash) We knew that Dubya would have alot of help from people more informed than himself, he had NO real foreign policy experince....but as Governor of Texas, it wasn't a requirement.....it's now the Neocon (as opposed to the trad conservatives) foreign policy agenda that you now see. We will probably start to see it in domestic policy too.

                To summarize, people in 2000 KNEW what they were getting w/ Dubya....a trad conservative, but his VP and appointees (unelected) are neocons and running the show. It's the appointees who the public has no control over and they have taken control of the President.

                I'd say that one lesson every American should take from the Dubya experience is that gone are the days when VPs were mere placeholders. Cheney has set a new precedent!

                "An individual is easier corruptable than a whole party platform."

                That precisely what happened w/ Dubya and the neocons....they've hijacked his presidency, if you don't believe me....ask Patrick Buchanan!

                •  oh, I think you are very right and (none)
                  hit the nail on the head.

                  You could put in words, what I felt in my guts since the first time I became aware of Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld, and that was in the summer before 9/11.

                  To me it felt as if a group of people had intruded the administration by being so smart to have managed to get nominated into the Cabinet of a President, who would be the best tool for them to have for their ideological agenda. A poodle to train to be their barking watch dog, while they rob the nation's integrity,
                  all the while some soccer-ball mommies tutor the men to the point, where he feels a secure enough man to play the "tough guy" with a "compassionate heart" and "strong moral backbone".

                  If Bush were not President, I wouldn't even give a thought about the man. He is uninspriringly unimportant, like his father was. But at least his father behaved better. Son has the quick big mouth from his mother to cover up for all his missing qualifications with a rather meaningless joke.

                  Well, I don't want to think about it anymore, it's just too sad and annoying. I saw two seconds of a video clip of Bush in today's press conference and turned off the TV. I am done listening. The game is over, he has won, and the nations stops listening.

                  Now we will witness  how he implodes into a pile of nothingness, while the strongmen will jump his ship take it over completely by mutiny. There is a good chance for Cheney to become President. May be he counts on that deep down in his heart and can't keep his mind from dreaming ....

                  For free speech, against free lies.

                  by mimi on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:39:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Necesity to fight church power (none)
        Pople gwake up the Catholic Church has more power here that in Spain, Ireland and Italy, is just incredible. And then you have the born again, the southern Baptist, etc. Until democrats here don't face the church the baby Jesus from Texas will be our pharaoh.

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